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Approval Of Tribal Casino Comes Alongside Effort To Boost Economic Prosperity

Friedmutter Group/Spokane Tribe Economic Project
A rendering of a proposed casino that is part of a development plan on land on the West Plains of Spokane County associated with the Spokane Tribe.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has announced a visit with the Spokane Indian Tribe Thursday. The visit comes as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed off on a plan that includes a casino.

Inslee said the development could create thousands of jobs and bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue. It includes a casino, cultural center, and shops on off-reservation land the federal government holds in trust for the tribe. A decade-long review considered environmental impacts, and proximity to Fairchild Air Force Base.

Meanwhile, the Interior Department has also deemed Spokane tribal land a “Promise Zone,” as part of an initiative to boost economic prosperity. The agency said of the nearly 3,000 citizens that make up the Spokane Indian Tribe, 25 percent are unemployed and more than a third live under the poverty line.

The “Promise Zone” designation doesn’t come with money, but federal staff will help the Tribe access government funding opportunities.